Nick Walton’s Welcome To Asia, August 2016

by Nick Walton

The St. Regis Vommuli Reosrt, Maldives.

With just 77 villas spread across a nine hectare private island in the Dhaalu Atoll, the St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort promises to lift the luxury benchmark for the Indian Ocean when it opens next month. The first St Regis in the Maldives (and the first private island for the group), this luxurious new hideaway has been created by Warner Wong Design, with a contemporary tropical persona inspired by nature itself. The resort’s 77 villas feature manta ray-inspired curved roofs, all-timber exteriors and blown glass art, while the two-story John Jacon Astor Estate, ideal for families, boasts an expansive private pool, over 600sqm of sun decks, a show kitchen, a private spa and a mini theatre. Look out for the resort’s six innovative dining experiences, which include an Asian specialty restaurant, a modern Italian eatery, an underground wine cellar, and a signature overwater bar. 

One of the first luxury ryokans to launch in the city has opened in the Japanese capital with the arrival of Hoshinoya Tokyo. Situated in Otemachi and operated by Hoshino Resorts, Hosinoya Tokyo represents a marriage of traditional Japanese architecture and contemporary lifestyle and offers an opportunity for time-strapped travelers to delve into Japanese tradition without having to leave the city center. Each floor of this 17-story Rie Azuma–designed tower boasts a single, luxurious but authentic ryokan suite, dressed in soft tatami matting and traditional art work, with its own ochanoma lounge and dining room, and a dedicated staff, which serve traditional meals and tea from an extensive selection, and organize visits to the al fresco rooftop bath house. 

Located in one of the fastest emerging destinations in Asia, two lavish new properties have launched on the island of Sri Lanka. Blending the beauty of nature with the artistic talents of one of the island’s greatest living artists, Laki Senanayake, Diyabubula has opened at the heart of a jungle estate at the teardrop-shaped island’s center. With just five luxurious, individually-designed villas, each constructed from century-old railway sleepers, rooms wreath Senanayake’s own art studio, which is open to guests. Keeping with the natural environment of Diyabubula, a highly skilled team of chefs prepare fresh locally sourced cuisine while adhering to traditional Buddhist principles. This jungle retreat is the ideal base from which to explore the art and architecture of the country’s world heritage sites, which include the cave temple of Dambulla, the massive rock fortress of Sigiriya, and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. 

Offering something a little more lavish and contemporary, Shangri-La’s five star Hambantota Resort & Spa has opened on the island’s southern coast. The 300-room golf resort – the first of its kind in Sri Lanka – not only boasts 145 acres of tropical gardens but also features a par 70 18-hole golf course designed by Rodney Wright, innovative dining options, and its own artisan village, which showcases local Sri Lankan creativity. Guest rooms and suites are dressed in contemporary Sri Lankan décor, including locally carved wood and soothing tile. Be sure to leave time for a visit to CHI The Spa, with its outdoor treatment rooms and extensive Chinese-meets-Ayurvedic menu.

For travelers looking for something a little different next time they visit the Lion CityM Social has opened on the banks of the historic Singapore River. Offering a new design-driven persona in a city that’s already famed for its imaginative and often quirky houses of slumber, the Philippe Starck-designed 293-room hotel overlooks vibrant Robertson Quay. Look out for the city’s first self-check-in kiosks, complimentary smart phones in each room, and a chic rooftop pool bar that promises to lure the city’s beautiful set. 

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